Cruise Group: Despite Storms, the Caribbean Is Still Open

The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association has launched a large-scale awareness campaign to spread the message that most ports in the Caribbean were not seriously affected by the recent hurricanes and are still welcoming tourists.

Given the continuing news coverage of devastation in the Caribbean after two major hurricanes this fall, you’d be forgiven for believing that island ports across the region are closed.

But a cruise-industry group wants to make sure you know otherwise. This week, the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, which represents cruise-industry interests in the Caribbean and Latin America, launched a campaign called The Caribbean Is Open. It’s spreading the message that about 100 ports of call are operational, even as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and other destinations are still recovering from the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

As the Miami Herald notes, the ports hit the hardest by the storms—two in the U.S. Virgin Islands, two in Puerto Rico—are likely to reopen by the end of next month. But travelers might choose to stay home, which could pose a serious economic threat to the region’s tourism industry.

The campaign’s website, launched on Monday, “will be an invaluable resource for destinations and cruise lines to spread information about and footage of the beautiful destinations awaiting guests,” FCCA President Michele Paige said in a news release. “It is crucial to connect with potential travelers and show them that most of the unparalleled experiences in the Caribbean are operating normally.”

Multiple cruise line companies have assisted with hurricane relief efforts in recent weeks. A Carnival ship out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, for example, has been used to house relief workers.

But Carnival President and CEO Arnold Donald told Skift that recovery efforts are unlikely to affect normal operations in most places.  “We know some people wonder if it’s a good time to go to the Caribbean or if they should wait,” he said. “The answer is it is a great time to go to the Caribbean.”

FCCA will highlight the campaign as part of its annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show, which starts next week.

(ALEXIUZ/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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